Business leaders have more progressive expectations than before. Their forward-looking business goals call for integration with new capabilities and technologies — from artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to bots and cloud services. None can be easily integrated into older platforms.

Alongside this, CIOs are seeking closer partnerships with other organisations in their business ecosystem and need to develop ways to support borderless teams where internal employees, external team members, partners and contractors are able to work together and collaborate seamlessly – regardless of location, device, or domain.

Workforces: Breaking Through Enterprise Borders

As shared workplaces and high-levels of mobility become increasingly integral to cross-enterprise collaboration, the ability to offer a fully searchable archive of messages and files becomes critical for businesses. As does the ability to easily integrate with third-party applications to automate workflows and advance collaboration among teams across enterprise boundaries. Yet often legacy enterprise communications solutions lack the flexibility to adapt to new business goals and technologies.

Eliminating Borders With API-Based Communications Platforms

This vision of the future is possible however, with communications platforms where open APIs take that essential next step to expand UC&C capabilities. Open architecture platforms make it easier to integrate new business processes and technology into collaboration tools – and offer a better connection between users and real-time information. This opens up new opportunities to connect not only with other employees, but end customers as well.

Contextual awareness can also bring subject matter experts into the conversation when customer and advisor need specific queries addressing. For example, a connected platform can integrate with existing on-site clinic or hospital equipment to help manage critical, real-time communications – providing essential notification services and alarms for doctors and nurses across a range of devices and platforms.

The same platform could offer real-time video conferencing capabilities for doctors to check up on discharged patients recuperating at home. Some patients may need to be reminded to take their medication after discharge. By integrating a communications platform with the hospital’s processes and the patient’s electronic medical record, automated alerts can be sent via text or phone call to remind the patient.

As a communications platform as a service (CPaaS) is cloud-based, developers can add real-time communications features such as voice, video, and messaging in their own applications without needing to build backend infrastructure and interfaces. A CPaaS with open APIs will integrate with current in-house and third-party apps, providing a separate and secure environment – allowing multiple users to access the platform at the same time.

Processes: Ushering In Next-Generation Security, Physically & Virtually

CPaaS APIs also enable developers to extend connections to stand-alone infrastructures, providing a simple and secure way to bring communication and collaboration capabilities to systems and processes both inside and outside the company borders. They open the door to new collaborative working models based on innovations such as the IoT, AI and task-automating bots.

Open APIs behind communications platforms allow teams to benefit from proactive notification services which incorporate building security devices, operational equipment and even fire safety alarms into one connected communications platform – ultimately saving lives, avoiding production downtimes, or securing buildings.

Lose The Borders, Keep The Control: The 4 Levels Of Security

As workforces are becoming borderless and mobile, it is important to manage security issues on four levels and to ensure security policies at the OS Layer, Transport Layer, Application Layer and User Level. It is also important to ensure company confidentiality so that users can only see people from their company, or those with a public profile.

There should also be a ‘second pair of eyes’ to ensure total platform security. Any CPaaS solution should be put under constant scrutiny by third party software such as the nmap network security scanner, Nessus cloud for vulnerability management, Qualys for cloud security and SSL Labs for server testing, and audited by an external independent company.

Systems: Apps That Are Enterprise Grade & Consumer Friendly

There are now a number of vendors stepping away from proprietary offerings by providing open APIs to make it easier for IT teams to develop more apps, safe in the knowledge they can be integrated into existing communications infrastructure. As CIOs prepare their enterprises for greater digital interdependence, a CPaaS platform based on a hybrid cloud can serve as the catalyst to drive digital transformation for businesses – by enabling communication and collaboration both inside and outside the borders of the enterprise.

According to Salesforce, 79% of enterprise IT teams are now involved in building apps for customers, partners or employees. Conferencing, instant messaging and video calling can be added to these apps, bringing employee workflows in line with each other and being a powerful driver for digital transformation within the enterprise.

However, enterprise grade functionality of these apps– be this VoWLAN, call routing, directory services or calendar integration – has to be ‘consumer grade’ in its elegance and ease of use. The connected platform becomes a ‘relationship machine’ that helps IT organisations deliver the services and technologies to transform how people work.

Prepare For Change

With open APIs, we are truly on our way to a connected enterprise, with platforms that connect workforces, processes and systems to enable real-time collaboration to take informed decisions and actions across the entire organisation. The vision is becoming reality – the enterprise without borders – but with the necessary border control to secure your business during digital transformation.